The Latest: Big unknown for Gamecocks _ cell distractions


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Latest on Friday preparations for the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

Asked how his team is handling the distractions of South Carolina’s first trip to the Final Four, Gamecocks coach Frank Martin held up his cellphone.

“This is what you can’t gauge,” he said.

But, Martin said, no use in taking the cell phones out of his players’ hands at this point. He’s never done that before, so to do it now would not make much sense.

With families and friends rolling into town Friday, Martin said the team has established rules for when and when players can hang out with hangers-on.

As for that cell, Martin says, “it’s been and unbelievable distraction for me this week, I can only imagine what it’s been like for them.”


10:25 a.m.

South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell is back at University of Phoenix for media availabilities and practice one day after he stayed back at the team hotel because he was feeling ill.

Thornwell says he’s now fine and feels good. He says he had a fever and headache.

The 6-foot-5 senior guard has been one of the tournament’s biggest stars as he’s led the Gamecocks to their first Final Four.

He leads the tournament in scoring at 26 points per game, and is averaging 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 steals per game.


10 a.m.

It’s going to be a busy Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium ahead of Saturday’s Final Four games.

Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon and South Carolina will all hold practices that are open to the public ahead of the national semifinals. Those teams will also spend much of the day bouncing between media sessions.

South Carolina has the first 50-minute practice session on the court nestled in the middle of a cavernous stadium with capacity for more than 63,000 fans. Gonzaga is next. Those teams play Saturday’s first national semifinal.

Oregon and North Carolina have the last two practices. They play in Saturday’s second semifinal.


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